City allots P150M as standby fund for COVID-19 crisis
The city council on Monday through Ordinance 39, s. 2020 has appropriated the amount of P150 million from savings of the general fund as standby or contingency fund for various measures and programs which deal with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis in Baguio.
The amount was pooled from the unused funds of the city government’s different offices/departments pursuant to Department of Budget and Management Local Budget Circular 124, s. 2020, which sets the guidelines on the provision of funds by local government units for programs, projects, and activities to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
Section 2.0 (2.3) of the circular authorizes LGUs to effect charges for Covid-19 related programs, projects, and activities from their respective annual budgets through supplemental budgets in accordance with Section 321 of the Local Government Code and Article 417 of its Internal Rules and Regulations, as amended by Administrative Order 47, such as “in times of public calamity.”
It authorizes the LGUs, by way of budgetary realignment, to set aside appropriations for the purchase of supplies and materials of the payment of services, which are exceptionally urgent or absolutely indispensable to prevent imminent danger to, or loss of, life or property, in the jurisdiction of the LGU or in other areas declared in a state of calamity by the President.
The ordinance also tasked the Local Finance Committee to start providing/preparing the list of unused City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund for the last five years for possible realignment to augment the Covid-19 contingency fund.
Meanwhile, the body through Resolution 176 s. 2020 has authorized City Mayor Benjamin Magalong to exercise powers which are necessary and proper in carrying out the mandates granted to the President under Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which are applicable to the city, subject to the guidelines and authorization from the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The resolution gives leeway for the city mayor, which is allowed and authorized by law or the guidelines, to adopt and implement temporary measures which shall respond to crisis brought by the pandemic. Under such condition, the city mayor can act speedily on certain emergency issues and concerns without the required or usual legislative actions.
In other resolutions, Magalong was authorized to enter into a memorandum of agreement in behalf of the city for related activities in containing the Covid-19.
These are for agreements with the owner of the defunct Sto. Niño Jesus Medical Center for its revival and conversion into a critical care facility for coronavirus disease 2019 patients; the Department of Health to facilitate the certification standards of the Sto. Niño Jesus Medical Center relative to its application to operate as a specialty hospital for Covid-19 patients; and with the Department of Labor and Employment for the implementation of the programs Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or Tupad and the Covid-19 Adjustment Measure Program or Camp for the affected workers in the city due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Mandated in Resolution 180, s. 2020 are the Department of Health-Cordillera and the City Health Services Office to recruit or accept Baguio-based qualified medical students, graduates of medicine and registered nurses to render medical services during the whole duration of the enhanced community quarantine, pursuant to provisions of Republic Acts 2382 and 11469.
Section 4(m) of RA 11469 allows the temporary activation of human resources for health such as medical and allied medical staff to complement or supplement the current health workforce or to man the temporary facilities to be established.
Section 12(d) of RA 2382 or the Medical Act of 1959 allows the giving of limited and special authorization by the Secretary of Health for “medical students who have completed the first four years of medical course, graduates of medicine and registered nurses” to render medical services during epidemics or national emergencies whenever the services of duly registered physicians are not available.
Such authorization shall automatically cease when the epidemic or national emergency is declared terminated by the Secretary of Health.
In Resolution 183, s. 2020, a salute was given to Joel B. Junsay, the spouses Enrique and Jaysay Bactad, and Rafael Serrano for their chivalrous public admission of being positive for Covid-19 in order to save the lives of persons whom they may have contact with.
In another resolution, frontliners, volunteers, and donors were acknowledged for their invaluable efforts and contributions in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Further, in Resolution 189, s. 2020, all universities/schools and barangays within the city were requested to continuously monitor stranded students and provide them relief assistance.
The resolution stressed most of these students have already exhausted their means for daily needs and are in dire financial crisis which must be addressed.